Three months is sufficient time to really get to the nitty-gritty of a car. If it has problems chances are they will surface during that period, especially when the said car is being driven on a daily basis by a bunch of automotive journalists who are constantly trying to find faults. And the Mazda 2 does have its share of issues. Boot space is restrictive, it isn’t as comfortable or well equipped as some of its other Far Eastern rivals. It is relatively pricier at Dh62,000, too. And that’s without sat-nav; that’ll be an extra Dh2K, thank you.

The thing is, none of that matters.

What the 2 has in its favour far outweighs all its flaws — it’s a car for people who like driving. And that means that it doesn’t feel impersonal and detached like most budget runabouts. Everything it does is centred around you — the driver.

Over the 12 weeks it’s spent at wheels HQ, it has displayed that one aspect over and over again. These days most manufacturers seem to believe that unless you spend a few hundred thousand on a car you care little about drivability. It’s presumptuous and actually an affront to petrolheads. Mazda hasn’t done that with the 2 and that’s the reason why we picked it as our Compact Car of the Year. Heck, we even chose it as one of the most fun-to-drive cars in the second-anniversary issue of wheels Arabic. That’s no mean feat given the other contenders that made the cut included the new Porsche 911 and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

Reliability hasn’t been an issue either, almost every member of the team has spent large chunks of time with the 2 and never did it once throw a hissy fit. And even though it’s been driven hard, fuel economy has hovered around the 7.0 litres per 100km mark. Now, as the little Mazda leaves our long-term garage, I can say this with conviction: if you’re looking for a small car, look no further.

The progress

Week 11 The 2 boasts robust Bluetooth connectivity, which is something that is lacking in many cars these days. It’s cheeky styling is a hit with the kids.

Highs Bluetooth connectivity.

Lows Brakes feel grabby sometimes.